South African municipalities are abdicating their executive authority by not actively fighting corruption. This is according to the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta). In a press statement Cogta said that the municipal councils were leaving it up to the MEC to institute Section 106 of the Municipal Structures Act investigations. This, according to the committee, is undesirable and must be stopped with immediate effect.
The committee made this observation following its interaction with uMgungundlovu District Municipality, Richmond Local Municipality and Mpofana Local Municipality as part of its oversight in KwaZulu-Natal to assess the state of municipalities and provision of services.
With all three municipalities, the committee considered it unacceptable that despite allegations of fraud, corruption and successive negative audits, appetite for consequence management remains low with no or limited proactive investigations despite the presence of both administrative and legislative oversight bodies that must actively fight acts of corruption.
The committee also highlighted concerns regarding the district municipality’s lack of interest in establishing a Disaster Management Centre that meets the standard as set out by the Disaster Management Act.
“We cannot continue treating issues of disaster management as a tick-box exercise, thus putting at risk the lives of the people, the majority of them poor. The Covid-19 period has emphasised the need to have a quality Disaster Management Centre that services the people of the area,” said Ms Faith Muthambi, the Chairperson of the committee.